May is the month of Our Blessed Lady

“All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded on Our Lady.” J.R.R.Tolkein

Traditionally May is the month of Mary, when we celebrate her unique place in the story of salvation. Because of God’s in-itiative and a young girl’s “Yes” to the unforeseen, the pres-ence of God becomes vulnerable in human flesh. In the an-cient days it was the Ark of the Covenant that marked the presence of God. Now, Luke says, something new is happen-ing: Mary of Nazareth is the tabernacle of God.

Mary, like all mothers, gives over her body and soul so that new life may be born. All mothers must wait for the gradual process that is happening within them; they must learn to let go of the child within them; they must not only nurture the presence of the child but foster its leaving. The act of child-birth is a painful act of letting go, so that the life within can take its own separate place in the world. Mary’s vocation is not only to hold Jesus within her but also to let him go, let him become the person he must become.

Mary assists the struggle of God to be one like us. There is something dangerously new about Mary, the woman at the centre of the Christian story. It is a woman, not a man, who brings God’s real presence into the world. Through her, the presence of the Redeemer will be known and celebrated.

Prayer

Almighty God, who raised our broken race by the child-bear-ing of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, who have seen your glory shown in our humanity and your love perfected in

our weakness, may be renewed in your image and conformed to the likeness of your beloved son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Feast of the Ascension – 5 May 

The Ascension is meant to be a Feast of profound meaning, hope and promise. However, it requires us to reflect on who Jesus is – and who we are empowered to become in Him, be-ginning now and opening up into the life to come. He is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus helps to explain the Christian vo-cation and unveils the horizon, which opens before us as we continue to live our lives now in this Way called Christianity (cf Acts 9:2, 11:26). It points to the ongoing plan of redemp-tion for each of us. It gives us a glimpse of the loving plan of God for the whole of creation. This Feast also points us toward a deeper understanding of the Feast of Pentecost which we will soon celebrate. The very Breath of God, His Holy Spirit, has been breathed into the Body of Christ, the Church and into each one of us as members of that Body.

Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ hu-manity into God’s heavenly domain, whence He will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides Him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3).

Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Fa-ther’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with Him forever.

Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who as-sures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Feast of Pentecost – 15 May 

On 15th May we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, a very im-portant day for the Body of Christ. It is called the “Birthday of the Church” because the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to His apostles, came upon them that day and empowered them to take his message to the ends of the earth.

While the disciples were in one place and in one accord, a sound like a rushing mighty wind began in the distance, but it wasn’t coming from the horizon, it came from above. It filled the whole place where they were sitting.

Just like Sinai, the people beheld the manifest presence of God through wind and fire, which sat upon the disciples like golden tongues; and through the revelation of God, which they heard as foreign words coming out of Jewish mouths. As the people watched, God began to write His law upon the hearts of Jesus’ followers and took up His dwelling in them, as He had said He would do back on Mount Sinai centuries before. He also initiated their witness, as each person present heard the wonderful works of God declared in His own tongue.

The Lord had truly come upon His people. In the spirit of the Feast of Pentecost, waves of the Holy Spirit filled the area, bringing forth awe, wonder, and another birthday… the Birth-day of the Body of Christ!

And talk about a change! St. Peter stood boldly before those who were witnessing this incredible event and preached with such power, such anointing, and such authority, that the peo-ple, many of whom fifty days before condemned Jesus to

death, were “cut to the heart” by the message of the Cross and desired to follow the Lord. In this one day the Church grew, as over three thousand new souls were added to the roles of the kingdom.

The whole Church began to live out what many have called a spiritual “rhythm of life”. They would gather together to hear the Apostles’ teaching and find fellowship with each other un-der the Apostles’ guidance and direction. They celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly and spent large amounts of time in prayer. The impact not only on the church but upon the whole city was profound.

“Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and mirac-ulous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their posses-sions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:43-47).

All of Jesus’ followers were transformed by this one dramatic event. Each one found new power and a new presence going with them. And from this early band of followers the whole world eventually would be touched. Each time they prayed, God moved upon them, giving them boldness in their word and witness.

By the laying on of hands through the first apostles, those who were to carry on the message and the faith gave leadership to the next and then subsequent generations of the Church. Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, nations that had never heard of Jesus Christ received the message of the Gospel.

John Mckinlay

Oblate of Pluscarden

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